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Disappointed Expectations: Downward Mobility and Electoral Change


Kurer, Thomas; Van Staalduinen, Britta (2022). Disappointed Expectations: Downward Mobility and Electoral Change. American Political Science Review, 116(4):1340-1356.

Abstract

Postindustrial occupational change has ended an era of unprecedented upward mobility. We examine the political implications of this immense structural shift by introducing the concept of status discordance, which we operationalize as the difference between status expectations formed during childhood and outcomes realized in adulthood. We leverage German household panel data and predictive modeling to provide empirical estimates of status expectations based on childhood circumstances and parental background. The analysis reveals that political dissatisfaction is widespread among voters who fall short of intergenerational status expectations. We show that such dissatisfaction is associated with higher abstention rates, less mainstream party support, and more radical voting. Moreover, we explore variation in status discordance by gender, education, and occupation, which influence the choice between radical left and right parties. Our findings highlight how expectations about opportunities underlie generational voting patterns and shed light on the ongoing breakdown of the postwar political consensus.

Abstract

Postindustrial occupational change has ended an era of unprecedented upward mobility. We examine the political implications of this immense structural shift by introducing the concept of status discordance, which we operationalize as the difference between status expectations formed during childhood and outcomes realized in adulthood. We leverage German household panel data and predictive modeling to provide empirical estimates of status expectations based on childhood circumstances and parental background. The analysis reveals that political dissatisfaction is widespread among voters who fall short of intergenerational status expectations. We show that such dissatisfaction is associated with higher abstention rates, less mainstream party support, and more radical voting. Moreover, we explore variation in status discordance by gender, education, and occupation, which influence the choice between radical left and right parties. Our findings highlight how expectations about opportunities underlie generational voting patterns and shed light on the ongoing breakdown of the postwar political consensus.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Sociology and Political Science
Social Sciences & Humanities > Political Science and International Relations
Uncontrolled Keywords:Political Science and International Relations, Sociology and Political Science
Language:English
Date:1 November 2022
Deposited On:20 Dec 2022 07:58
Last Modified:29 Mar 2024 02:36
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:0003-0554
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1017/s0003055422000077
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID185204
  • : Project TitleSocial Status and the Transformation of Electoral Behavior in Western Europe
  • : FunderDFG
  • : Grant IDEXC-2035/1–390681379
  • : Project Title